Not only is a failed hiring attempt a waste of time and money, but a huge confidence and energy loss as well. There are several reasons we consistently see people fail at hiring new team members.
Reason #1 is that most bosses don’t know exactly what position they are hiring for. Most entrepreneurs hire from a place of pain…work is not getting done, someone quit, everyone is overworked and we need HELP! They certainly may need to hire someone, but there is no clarity of what role needs to be added to the team. Broad terms like “assistant”, “paralegal” and “marketing assistant” lack clarity and that is a BIG danger. Having worked with over 400 small businesses we see a different definition for each of these job titles. Does assistant mean this employee has a lot of client interaction on your behalf or are they more strategic – handling your scheduling, project management, etc. Is your paralegal handling client meetings or doing all drafting? Is your marketing assistant handling your blogging and social media or interacting with people or reacting to all of the above at any given moment?
Before you even think of posting an ad or talk to a potential candidate, you must be VERY clear on the nitty, gritty specifics of what you are hiring for. Otherwise you end up hiring a marketing person and in two weeks they are drafting documents because the business is backlogged on work. The new hire ultimately ends up confused, the entrepreneur ends up frustrated because she just doesn’t “get it” and either way the story ends with the new hire leaving or the attorney feels they just have to let them go.
Often the bottleneck isn’t necessarily the area where the entrepreneur needs to hire. A classic example: we assisted one law firm who desperately needed to hire an attorney to help get work moving in their probate department. They had one attorney working in this area but she was swamped and work was backlogged. After completing our initial analysis call, we determined that a new attorney was actually not what was going to unlock the bottleneck of work. For less than what one attorney would cost to hire, we could instead hire two support team members. One to take over the billing and a majority of the document drafting the attorney was spending time on and the other to be a client coordinator. So much of the attorney’s time was being spent fielding “one quick question” from clients calling in or having to make the follow up calls to obtain missing information…which always turned into a 30 minute phone call because the client had direct access to the attorney for some “quick advice”. Having a support person, with great people skills, to proactively handle communicating with the clients not only freed up the attorney but also provided a better, more consistent service to the client. Adding another attorney to the mix would have actually compounded the problem and two attorneys would have been spending time on activities they could have a support team member be accountable for, freeing them up to do the specialized (ummm….revenue producing) work only an attorney can do.
In another instance, an entrepreneur contacted us to help them hire a new marketing assistant. Cash flow was down and they needed someone to help drum up business ASAP! Well…after completing our analysis, we all realized that the marketing assistant had a tremendous amount of opportunities to schedule for the boss to bring in new business. Her problem was his calendar was so jammed up she couldn’t get anything scheduled for a prospect or marketing opportunity for 6 weeks out. And it had been this way for months. People were going elsewhere because he had no capacity to assist them in a timely fashion. She we created a plan to hire a drafting paralegal to take the majority of the drafting preparation off this plate, thus freeing up 10 hours a week on his calendar for new client meetings or marketing activities. And this allows clients to move more quickly through the process and the firm collect payments faster.
So often we see business owners place employment ads out of a reaction to their overwhelm and frustration. Unfortunately, without some analysis and intentional thought on what you really need to hire, hiring someone only causes more pain. Thus perpetuates the story that you can never get ahead and hiring is a torturous process. That doesn’t have to be the reality of your situation! Take some time to really think through what your firm needs to unlock its potential. If you aren’t sure and need help, this analysis is included in our Smart Hire Solution™ process. Contact us for more details.
Champions for Your Continued Success,
Molly and Laney